These events can be a good resource for buying hot tubs and swim spas but you need to be savvy when buying from someone out of town.
There are a few things to consider when entering into these high-pressure environments so get out your bullshit detector because they can be a good resource or a nightmare.
The reality is with the right brand and a good local delivery and service person. they can be a good experience, but a lot of the times the brands represented at these events are low end small regional manufacturers with lots of bells and whistles but very little substance, they are marked up to unreasonably high retail prices and given massive discounts sometimes ending up higher than you could buy local in some cases. I have personally seen mid grade spas like Dynasty marked up to over $20,000 and offering expo prices of $13,000 which is still over what you can buy them for retail!
On the other hand, there are some of the larger manufacturers that do a great job and offer some solid pricing on really good spas with local support networks that are committed and reliable.
First of all forget the factory direct angle, ask to see the invoice. The name of the company on the invoice is who you are buying from and ultimately they are the ones who will control your service level, a quick check of the company to make sure they are legit and well regarded is never a bad idea. If they claim to have a local representative then get the details and again check the information, even a quick call to the local guy to make sure he is dedicated to servicing you and your new purchase.
A good deal on a good brand with a good local guy to back you up is great…
On the other hand, an overpriced mid grade spa from a slash and burn artist who is running hundreds of miles away with you money can be the beginning of a really bad experience.